James R. Scroggins, the executive director of the Missouri lottery for the last 13 years, was hired Tuesday to direct the startup of the Oklahoma lottery.
The vote was unanimous from the Oklahoma Lottery Commission to hire Scroggins, 61, at a base salary of $175,000 a year, plus $30,000 in one-time transition expenses.
Scroggins also will get a bonus of $25,000 if instant lottery tickets go on sale in Oklahoma during October of this year and another $25,000 if online lottery games go on sale during January 2006.
The contract calls for the new director to be on board around June 6.
Ron Norick, former Oklahoma City mayor who headed up a three-member search committee, said Scroggins was one of three finalists interviewed for the post among 18 applicants.
James Orbison of Tulsa, chairman, said commissioners feel fortunate to have someone with Scroggins' experience and a stated desire to "get the lottery up and running as soon as possible for the benefit of education in our state."
Oklahoma officials are hoping the lottery will generate up to $150 million for education when it is in full operation.
Gov. Brad Henry, who led the drive for voter approval of the lottery last year, said he was pleased with the selection.
"James Scroggins brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and vision to this important position," Henry said. "I look forward to working with him to implement an education lottery that will make all Oklahomans proud.
"As I have said many times before, we want to move as quickly as possible to raise funds for education, but we also want to be cautious and make sure we do things right."
Scroggins said taking on the challenge of starting a lottery from scratch was one of the motivating reasons he took the job.
He said he felt that if he was in on the ground floor of a lottery that "maybe we can do it better than we did in other states."
Scroggins expressed confidence he can help Oklahoma produce "a good and well run lottery that raises a lot of money for education."
He said his job will be made easier because of the support of the governor and the strong vote in favor of the lottery by the public at last November's election.
Scroggins, who lives in Jefferson City, was executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery from 1987-1991 before being hired by Missouri. He previously worked for a company that specialized in printing instant lottery games.
He has a master's degree in psychology from the University of Illinois and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University.
During his tenure in Missouri, lottery sales grew from $220 million in 1992 to $791 million in 2003 and net profits grew from $66 million to $230 million during the same period.